ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – Federal agents raided a New Mexico gun store Tuesday morning and arrested the owner, his wife and their two sons on a 30-count indictment accusing them of smuggling guns across the border with Mexico.
The firearms sold by the defendants included 27 AK-47-type rifles, three AR-15 rifles, two .50 caliber rifles, and two 9 mm pistols -- weapons favored by Mexican cartels, according to a federal indictment.
"Those who sell firearms knowing that they will be illegally smuggled into Mexico to arm Mexican Cartels share responsibility for the violence that has been devastating Mexico," U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales said in statement.
Rick Reese, 55, the owner and operator of New Deal Shooting Sports in Deming, his wife Terri Reese, 48, and his sons, Ryin Reese, 24, and Remington Reese, 19, were arrested in nearby Las Cruces, where they were opening a new shop, New Deal Shooting Sports II, according to Gonzales' office.
Following the arrests, state and federal officers executed search warrants on the Deming gun shop and the family home, authorities said. The Deming Headlight reported four armored personnel carriers and two helicopters assisted in the raid of the Deming gun shop, and agents were also seen at the home, which the paper said was fortified by barbed wire and contained power generators, storage sheds and a garage with several military-style vehicles parked inside.
The gun shop is less than 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the border town of Columbus, whose mayor, police chief and a town trust were caught in federal gun smuggling sting in March. All three have since pleaded guilty to participating in a ring that smuggled some 200 guns across the border. A spokeswoman for Gonzales, however, said the cases were unrelated.
The four face charges of conspiracy, money laundering, making false statements and illegally exporting firearms into Mexico.
It wasn't immediately clear if the family had retained attorneys. The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances in the federal courthouse in Las Cruces on Thursday.